LLNL uses multiple DataDirect Networks storage systems in a production setting that attach to multiple different SUSE Linux supercomputers. Data is consistently accessed on all of the drives; as the data is read, the DataDirect Networks' storage systems monitor data coming from each SATA drive and do parity corrections as reads occur in real-time. Thousands of SATA drives sit on these multiple DataDirect Networks storage systems, so errors occur almost daily.

"We try to be proactive in identifying bad drives, so if we suspect one is going bad, we find it better to replace a drive before it fails," says Seager.

NEC's Hydrastor targets backup and archive applications, relying on proprietary technology rather than RAID 5 or RAID 6. The Hydrastor distributes data across storage nodes based on the total number of potential failures from which an administrator wants the Hydrastor to recover. "Administrators can simulate up to 25% of the drives in the Hydrastor failing and still keep full data integrity," says Karen Dutch, NEC's general manager of advanced storage products.

As SATA disk drives become more integral to how companies store data, self-healing storage systems can help to keep data residing on SATA disk drives viable and accessible. Although a gap between FC and SATA drives still exists, "self-healing storage systems squeeze out FC-like performance and availability characteristics from SATA storage systems," says Taneja.


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M. Wendt

This was first published in September 2007

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